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Shorthanded Dynamo punch ticket to playoffs

By Andrew J. Ferraro / Staff

HOUSTON — A 10-man Houston Dynamo sewed up another spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs with a 1-1 tie against the Kansas City Wizards on Sunday afternoon at Robertson Stadium.

Playing a man down for a majority of the match after forward Cam Weaver was ejected early, the Dynamo took a 1-0 lead in the 26th minute on Luis Angel Landin’s first goal of the season.

But the added work of playing a man down led to multiple quality scoring chances for the Wizards in the second half. Zoltan Hercegfalvi scored the tying goal in the 73rd minute, but the Dynamo earned the point they needed to get them into the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year after moving to Houston from San Jose following the 2005 season.

Late in the second half, Claudio Lopez dropped a near-perfect pass from near the center circle over the top of the Dynamo defense. Running onto the ball alone, instead of settling the pass, Zoltan one-timed a shot from 10 yards out that glanced off Houston goalkeeper Pat Onstad and into the net for a 1-1 tie.

The goal came just four minutes after second-half substitute Dominic Oduro missed a wide open chance to give the Orange a 2-0 lead. Brian Mullan got by the K.C. defense and sent a pass back to the top of the box where Oduro was waiting. Oduro rushed his shot and fired high into the stands.

The Wizards then converted their next scoring chance on Zoltan’s first-ever MLS score.

In the first 15 minutes of the game, the Wizards carried play and just missed two excellent chances to take the early lead on the road.

First, after Josh Wolff settled an awkward cross behind the Houston defense, he skipped a shot just wide and to the left of Onstad, who was lucky less than 10 minutes later when a former teammate nearly scored the first goal.

After Claudio Lopez sent a cross into the box to Kei Kamara, the former Dynamo player who was traded for Abe Thompson, had a seemingly wide open net in which to shoot. But Kamara, who scored the only goal of the game in a 1-0 Houston win at K.C. earlier this summer, fired high only to see his shot glance off the crossbar and out of harm’s way.

Four minutes later, the Dynamo went a man down with Cam Weaver was ejected for a two-footed and late tackle on Santiago Hirsig. Referee Jorge Gonzalez made the right call, and the play by Weaver seemed to spark the Wizards, who nearly scored seven minutes after the incident.

From 27 yards out, Lopez found some space outside the box and nearly beat Onstad with a left-footed rocket. But Onstad dove to his left, got a hand on the ball and made the save.

Perhaps inspired by keeping the surging Wizards from capitalizing, Mullan and Landin teamed up for a very nice goal as Houston took a lead shorthanded.

After slipping a quick pass over to Mullan on the right, Landin sprinted toward the goal and waited for Mullan, who got room after getting Jimmy Conrad out of position. With his left foot, Mullan sent a rolling cross through the box to Landin, who was unmarked by the left post.

Landin tapped in past Hartman from almost on the goal line for a 1-0 lead that stood until K.C. finally broke through on Zoltan’s goal that cost the Dynamo two points in the standings and left them tied with the Los Angeles Galaxy atop the Western Conference standings.

The Dynamo have next weekend off from league play before meeting the Galaxy on Sunday, Oct. 18 at Robertson Stadium in a game that could decide who holds home-field advantage in the Western Conference throughout the postseason. The Wizards, whose playoff hopes are still alive — though barely — travel to The Home Depot Center to face Chivas USA next Saturday.

Andrew J. Ferraro is a contributor to

Kansas City Wizards (8-11-8) vs. Houston Dynamo (12-8-8)
04 de Octubre, 2009 — Robertson Stadium

HOU — Luis Angel Landin 1 (Brian Mullan 4) 26
KC — Zoltan Hercegfalvi 1 (Claudio Lopez 8) 73

Kansas City Wizards — Kevin Hartman, Jonathan Leathers, Matt Besler (Chance Myers 76), Jimmy Conrad, Michael Harrington (Graham Zusi 67), Davy Arnaud, Santiago Hirsig, Jack Jewsbury, Claudio Lopez, Kei Kamara (Zoltan Hercegfalvi 62), Josh Wolff.

No Jugaron: Roger Espinoza, Aaron Hohlbein, Matt Marquess, Boris Pardo

Houston Dynamo — Pat Onstad, Andrew Hainault, Bobby Boswell, Geoff Cameron, Mike Chabala, Brian Mullan (Ryan Cochrane 80), Ricardo Clark, Stuart Holden, Brad Davis (Corey Ashe 69), Cam Weaver, Luis Angel Landin (Dominic Oduro 63).

No Jugaron: Wade Barrett, Tally Hall, Eddie Robinson, Craig WaibelAmonestaciones:

HOU — Andrew Hainault (amarilla) 2
HOU — Cam Weaver (roja) 17
HOU — Brian Mullan (amarilla) 18
KC — Jonathan Leathers (amarilla) 46
KC — Kei Kamara (amarilla) 49
HOU — Mike Chabala (amarilla) 88

Árbitro: Jorge Gonzalez
asistentes: George Gansner; Adam Garner
cuarto oficial: Yader Reyes
duración del partido: 1:52
asistencia: 16.854

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